ATLANTA (AP) -- Gov. Sonny Perdue has hinted he would veto a proposal allowing local communities to decide for themselves whether to allow Sunday beer and wine sales at grocery and convenience stores, but backers say the bill is still alive.
“It just tells me we need a real effort to mobilize the population of Georgia to get the people on the phones in Georgia to write the governor’s office,” said state Sen. Seth Harp, a west-Georgia Republican who sponsored the bill.
Perdue told a radio station Wednesday the bill would have a “pretty tough time getting the last vote.” Perdue holds the power to veto proposals approved by the Georgia Legislature.
“Think of it this way,” Perdue said in the interview with Atlanta radio station Q100. “It really helps you plan ahead for the rest of your life—buying on Saturday, rather than Sunday. Time management.”
The legislation is likely to be one of the hot battles under the Gold Dome this session. On one side are grocery and convenience stores, which want to be able to sell six-packs on Sunday. Lining up against them is an unlikely pairing—the Georgia Christian Alliance and the state’s liquor stores.
Harp’s bill would give local governments the ability to decide whether Sunday beer and wine sales should be permitted. Voters in those communities would then have to approve the change at the ballot box.
Since the proposal doesn’t include liquor, owners of liquor stores have opposed the measure. And some conservative Christians fear the sale of alcohol on Sunday would sully the Sabbath.
Harp, R-Midland, dismisses that argument.
“Some folks say it is a moral issue,” he said. “But I don’t know how you can say it’s a moral issue to let the voters decide.”
(Copyright 2006, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)